Thursday, August 1, 2013

Baseball vs. Cheating

Do Performance Enhancing Drugs tarnish the records in baseball?  I am truly to the point I don’t care about that conversation.  The records are second on my list of importance; in my opinion using PED’s is just wrong.  Most of the players that use these types of drugs had the skill to be drafted by a Major League baseball team, but either didn’t have the overall skill to have a long Major League career or not enough skill to make the Parent club.  Most of the attention of this issue goes towards the superstars, but would the accused player be a superstar without using?  Mark McGwire always was a home run hitter, but his combined batting average in his first 6 seasons was .244. Would he be a superstar today if he was just a home run hitter?  No, he would have been an earlier version of Adam Dunn: homerun or strikeout.
During all of the conversations I have heard regarding this topic there is always one small fact forgotten, PEDs are illegal to use unless prescribed by “legit” doctor.  If a general citizen gets caught dealing with illegal PEDs, he or she would be incarcerated.  Yet, Major League players get a slap on the wrist and the conversation goes back to, are the records tarnished.  The punishment needs to be changed and the time is now, because the Players Union seems to be on board to clean up the game.  The 50 game suspension for first offense is a laughable punishment. Melky Cabrera received a 50 game suspension last year and then signed a 2 yr/$16 million contract from Toronto in 2013. Does this help stop the use?  No, the player still gets a high dollar contract, so why not keep using.  Also, does the suspended player get tested during the suspension?  If not, who can say that the suspended player won’t continue to use to get ready for his return? You tell me, is that punishment?  I believe the first offense should be one year suspension without pay, the rest of the current contract is voided and monthly testing will occur during the suspension.  Second offense is a lifetime ban. Too harsh? In my book cheating is cheating. What is worse, Pete Rose gambling on baseball or a player juicing against players that are doing it the right way?  Both Rose and the PED user are or were denying that the action ever happened.  If a lifetime ban occurs, you won’t see much more PED use.  Don’t think so? I haven’t heard of any gambling scandals within Major League baseball.  Why? Because all participants in Major League baseball from the Commissioner to the Manager know if you do, you are out of baseball for life, end of point. 
While I am on my soap box, I also want these discussions to stop on this topic, “You can’t tell me that the players back in the 1950s and 1960s didn’t use” and “Who cares baseball was better when the offense was scoring, who is it really hurting”.  Regarding the 1950s and 1960s, I am 39 years old so I can’t answer that question, and honestly I really don’t care.  I put that comment under the "well my big brother/sister did, so I did" category even though there was no proof of it. Why did we use that excuse? Because we got caught and we want someone else to go down with us.  Plus, we are not in the 1950s or 1960s.  The issue is coming up now, and we need to deal with the issue of today. The individual that brings up that argument wants to try to make PED use okay. 
For the “who cares” comment, these individuals don’t want to deal with this issue.  If we just stop talking about it, then it will be swept under the rug again and everything will be back to normal.  I call this the Wayne’s World effect, when Wayne and Garth go back in time and what just happened no longer exists.  Well I am sorry, my friends, the issue is alive and well and we need to keep this conversation alive to keep Major League baseball and all other sports honest (I use honest loosely).
Again, the records are second in this conversation on my list. With that being said, I do value the records just like all baseball fans, but records were broken during this time and we can’t do anything about it.  As fans of this great sport, let’s do everything we can do to make sure that all records in this new era of baseball are as legit as we hope they were in the glory years.

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